(Patchy Hair Loss)
Patchy hair loss or Alopecia Areata (AA) is a common hair condition in which one or more bald (hairless) patches develop in the hairy regions of the body. The body areas commonly affected by AA are the scalp, eyebrows, beard, moustache, and limbs but any other areas might be affected. The patches may be restricted to one region or might affect many regions simultaneously. The affected patch is usually smooth and might be slightly depressed than the adjacent normal areas. Most cases have no other symptoms other than the cosmetic concerns.
The problem is known to affect all races and countries. It is estimated that in India alone about one million new cases of AA arise every year. Most patients have little awareness about causes, evolution, and probable outcomes of AA. A number of unscientific and questionable remedies with potential of causing severe damage are known to have been attempted by patients in search of a resolution. We believe that authentic and trustworthy knowledge and appropriate treatment can help save effort and money in a significant proportion of cases.
- AA is a benign condition and does not
spread from one person to another.
- It is not caused by a defect of nerves
or brain function.
- It can arise in any gender and most
cases with most cases striking adolescents and adults.
- It is caused by a usually temporary defect
in immunity or one’s capacity to fight disease. A hereditary component has been
proved to be operative. It has been observed that AA can be accompanied by several
diseases caused by immunological defects.
- The hair follicle or the root in the
bald patch stays alive even after the visible part of hair is shed off. This
root is capable of regrowth. The fresh hairs growing as a result of recovery
process may at first be white or light in color.
- The course of AA is unpredictable. Every
case is unique in its response and a prediction about final outcome is not
Treatment Options and Supportive Measures
AA patients should not panic as the condition might resolve by itself without any intervention. They should handle hairs very gently and avoid vigorous massage, hair styling, chemical treatment or rough handling by avoiding frequent touching
Diagnosis of AA is usually straight forward and is made on the basis of simple history and clinical examination. In some cases, Trichoscopy or examination of scalp and hairs under magnifying devices may be done. Other tests are rarely required.
The problem of AA might resolve by itself as our bodies try to repair the defect in immunity. In cases where treatment is necessary, a number of options are available which vary in their mechanism of inducing repair. Some cases may recover better with simultaneous use of a combination of multiple options.
Steroids, acting by way of suppression of defective immune response, are the most effective drugs till date for treating AA. Locally applied steroids are less effective than the injections given into the patch. Derma roller, a less painful technique can also be used for drug delivery into the patches.Orally administered steroids run a greater risk of side effects and are used only in selected cases. Skin irritants that produce a controlled injury or inflammation to modify immune mechanisms are also used for AA to stimulate hair growth. Immuno-modulators are another group of medicines known to hasten recovery. .
In our practice, a detailed examination and counseling is provided to every patient. We devise a customized treatment plan to match your concerns. Personal attention is provided during treatment and post treatment care is advised.
We help you with measures to boost immunity, stress reduction, take advantage from support groups, and explore further resources.
You are permitted to share, distribute, print, or reproduce this article for private use with proper citation of the source. The article is a part of our service to fellow human beings as a means of health education and awareness enhancement to minimize dependence on healthcare
Dr Vinay Kumar
Senior Consultant Dermatologist
+91-93 199 299 00
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